Tame Valley secures Heritage Lottery Fund support

Published on Thursday, 26 July 2012 12:24
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership has received an earmarked first-round pass¹ of £1.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme² for the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, it was announced

Covering an area from Tamworth in the north to Coleshill in the south, passing from Staffordshire to North Warwickshire, the scheme will restore the Tame Valley and the surrounding floodplain landscape, providing improved access to the many heritage sites and to the river, whilst providing training, volunteering opportunities, events and activities for local people.

Development funding of £86,500 has also been awarded to help the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The underlying geology of the Tame Valley has shaped the development of the landscape, primarily through man's exploitation of the rich mineral resources available within the Tame Valley, including coal, clay, sand and gravel. These materials have shaped the buildings within the landscape and the jobs of many inhabitants as well as the numerous transport routes across the Valley, including road, canal and rail. Mineral extraction has left derelict land and large extraction pits. Many of the sand and gravel extraction pits have filled with water and become nationally important wetland sites for birds and other wildlife. All of this has resulted in a fragmented and degraded landscape, including a number of historical built structures along the canal network all in need of restoration.

The scheme will work with local communities and landowners to carry out practical habitat creation and restoration, reconnecting areas of the river valley, benefiting many species including water vole, otter, great crested newt, bittern, snipe, lapwing, and barn owl. The scheme will also restore three key historic canal structures, namely the Tame Aqueduct on the Coventry Canal, Curdworth Tunnel and Drayton Turret footbridge. Development of the Tame Way from Tamworth to Castle Bromwich with links to a network of canal towpaths and proposed circular routes, will provide new and exciting ways of exploring local heritage sites. A new interpretation centre at Kingsbury Water Park will provide access to information about the valley, its history and inhabitants.

Stephen Trotter from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: "We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to support the much needed restoration of the River Tame and its floodplain, which will create a place rich in wildlife and accessible to all. We envisage many local people joining together to restore the landscape whilst learning new skills and meeting new friends, strengthening both the landscape and the local communities. Local communities will be offered a range of events and activities and training and volunteering opportunities ranging from hedgelaying and reed planting to stile and gate construction, as well as opportunities to record the history of the valley from prehistory through the industrial revolution, World War II to today. In addition, new 'Friends of' groups will be created to help manage and protect their local heritage sites."

Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: "One of the key aims of our Landscape Partnership programme is to help reconnect people with their natural heritage - we felt the Tame Valley Wetlands scheme was particularly strong in this respect. Plans for pedestrian and cycle routes and much-needed training opportunities are also particularly to be welcomed and we look forward to working with the partnership as the project progresses over the coming months."

Source: ©Wildlife Trust

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